Goggles upside down, Stan Rey’s wearing his helmet backwards and laughing hysterically at his own shitty dad-jokes.
He’d mentioned before loading the gondola that his filming schedule is starting to tucker him out.
I see no evidence of that here.
We get to the top and he starts shadowboxing me to fend off the icy tentacles of the frosty morning.
The squad assembles, Stan turns his helmet around and we drop down towards the chair. The snow’s slow from the cold and I ease into autopilot as my body invests the bulk of its energy into keeping me warm.
Linking turns together feels like an effort.
Stan, the guy who’s getting worn down from the big show, veers hard left into the terrain park and lays out a 25-foot 360 over the first jump, overshooting the landing by a solid 10 feet.
He sticks it, but his impact seems to travel through the hardpack and magically make my spine hurt.
The two filmers, Darren Rayner and Graeme Meiklejohn, look at one another through frosted balaclavas in a way that suggests ‘maybe we should have filmed that’.
But nahhh we’re off to shred some proper snow, the stuff that feels better to land in than an icy park jump at -20 in the morning.
Stan’s done this enough to know that he’ll have to stand around in the cold, so he warms himself up hitting every single feature on the way to the chair: nose butters, hand drags and a side-hit air that I as a snowboarder can describe only as “an iron cross”.
(Is that a thing?)
Then we load the chair into the alpine and quel fucking surprise la, it’s really damn windy. So we head for lower elevations and hope for the best.
Stan’s had his eye on a line that needs fresh snow and low temperatures. We’ve only got one of those ingredients but we head there anyways, donging through a few pillow stacks on the way.
Stan monkeys his way through the forest to get into position.
I text him a photo from the bottom so that he can see what he’s on top of. And then I do my best to explain what I deem to be hazardous, though I know that as a former ski-cross athlete he looks at the world a little differently.
Burly though the line may be, some dude from Italy isn’t about to show up outta nowhere and bodycheck him into the gully on the skiers’ right.
The boys get the drone in the air and it’s “3-2-1 Dropping!” for Stan.
He opens things up with a left-trending airplane turn dropping about 20 feet from his point of entry.
The line itself, a treeline spine peppered with pillows and Christmas trees, is offset to the left from his drop-in so he has to angle his skis back up the slope on impact.
Somehow, he cuts back uphill and finds the pillow that landmarks the top of the spine and then points his skis fall line towards Dusty’s.
He bashes a couple fast turns on the rib and then WHOOSH, airs about 25 feet over the stand of mid-slope Christmas trees towards the icy runnel on the skiers’ right.
An explosion seems imminent but Stan opens up in the air, slows himself down and snipes a little pocket of pow before the death runnel and slows himself to a controlled stop right in front of us.
I loosely expect him to slip back into the forest, possibly merge with a local herd of ungulates and bound off into the fading afternoon light.
But no, he just spits out his mouthguard and starts laughing.
It sure is gonna be a treat to watch this Magnetic Movie.